The Applecado blog

Tips for working with a website design / development agency

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Working with an agency can be a daunting task if you haven’t before, so we’ve put together some top tips to make sure you get the best from your chosen agency (and obviously we hope that would be us!). By working with an agency you’re able to get the expertise you need, have a new perspective on a project or get help solving a complicated problem, so take the tips below and dive in!

1. Research

Finding the right agency for the job can be a tricky business, but by doing the right research you can narrow down your options. If you don’t have word of mouth recommendations from friends, family or colleagues, a good place to start is Google. When looking for a web agency be sure to look at their previous work to not only see if it fits your style, but that they have the knowledge of the functionalities you need (e.g. an online shop or recruitment system).

Another thing to look for is their location; whilst we've worked with plenty of companies we've never met in person, it can be useful to know they’re not too far away if you need to.

2.    References, T&Cs, quotes

When you’ve shortlisted your agency, ask for references from previous clients. A good agency would be able to supply you with a couple of names and contact details. This will help you understand how the company works and put to bed any concerns you might have. All the admin bits need be sorted and understood too, e.g. what do the terms and conditions say and do you know what has been quoted for and what might be an additional cost?

3.    Understand your goals

This might seem obvious, but we find many clients embark on a project before taking the time beforehand to make sure they understand what they actually want from the project. What are your objectives (more sales, a simpler ecommerce system, a new look and feel)?

4.    Questions

There are some key questions that you’ll need to ask the agency such as:
- What are the options for ongoing support?

- How do they manage projects (e.g. weekly catch ups)?

- Are you able to see the work in progress?
If the answer to this is no, RUN FOR THE HILLS! The last thing you want is to give a brief and then two months later have a website that is completely different to what you need and expect

- What does the quote include?
As mentioned above, make sure you understand if there will be any additional costs. This means you won’t have any nasty financial surprises and the agency can work to the agreed project budget and brief.

- Find out more about their technical knowledge?
You can ask what technology they will be using, or what your site will be written in; crucially why they believe this is most suitable.
What previous work have your agency done that is similar to what you need, even if only some elements are closely matched.

- What happens to your finished or launched project if the agency closes, for example?

5.    Do your bit

Dare we say it but the brief is just the start of it! As a client you also have a responsibility to make sure the project stays on track. While we will need your input for key decisions to make sure we can continue with the website build, we’ll also need the wording, images and feedback from you to make sure we get to the end goal. By sending these to us on time, we’ll be able to carry on with the development and deliver an outstanding website for you.   

6.    Communication is key

If you don’t like something or it’s not working quite how you expected, just say! It’s better to be honest and keep giving us feedback than not saying anything and ending up with a system/website that isn’t what you wanted and doesn’t do the job you need.

7.   Perfect doesn’t exist

Ok, we’re hypocrites on this one as we’re perfectionists and will always go above and beyond to get something ‘perfect’. HOWEVER, a site can be functioning perfectly, look great and be launched. Striving for perfection can push back launch dates and delay getting to your end goal. It’s key to remember that launch day isn’t the last day you interact with the website, as you will still be making changes to text, updating images, updating the stock/data inputs for the website, so don’t wait for perfect, it doesn’t exist.

Working with Applecado is a breeze, but then we would say that! Why not see what some of our clients have said about working with us. Alternatively, if you’ve already looked at our portfolio and can’t wait to get your project started with us, get in touch now!

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